• This unit is critical for fire safety.
    This unit is critical for fire safety.

A new unit of competency is available to anyone with Certificate III level qualifications or higher in the field of refrigeration and air conditioning.

The unit covers four mechanical fire safety assessment measures, encompassing fire dampers, smoke dampers, smoke and heat vents and mechanical air handling.

The new pathway was formally approved earlier this month by the NSW Department of Customer Service.

It follows months of industry consultation and a review by Superior Training Centre (STC) and the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning & Heating (AIRAH) to modify AIRAH’s documentation and create an associated exam for UEERA0098 – Inspect, test and repair fire and smoke control features of mechanical services systems.

Further to this, the two organisations worked with the NSW government and Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) to approve the use of UEERA0098 for the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) licensing in NSW.

Importantly, the unit of competency provides a pathway to accreditation under FPAS where previously one did not exist.

STC director, Ben Peters, said the FPAS licensing regime has been designed to strengthen fire safety regimes, and UEERA0098 provides vital support for this initiative.

“As this is the first time this Nationally endorsed unit of competency is being delivered, we are proud to have worked with our partner (AIRAH) and other industry organisations to be able to deliver this,” Peters said.

The unit of competency will be delivered in an online environment and will include a thorough examination process.

“The aim of this collaboration was to meet the requirements of the NSW government’s recent reforms to fire safety to improve the quality of checks made throughout the design, approval, construction, and maintenance phases of a building,” Peters said.

“Under the reforms, only a person accredited under an approved industry accreditation scheme can do the work covered by that scheme.

“In response to the reforms, FPAA introduced the FPAS to accredit persons who have attained the required competencies in certain areas of fire safety.”

Peters said this program addresses a gap in skills and knowledge as well as providing an assessment which is linked to the training package.

“By doing so this will provide further confidence in the VET sector training as well as the licensing and FPAS accreditation system used in NSW,” he said.

“Anyone conducting essential fire safety maintenance pertaining to fire dampers, mechanical air handling systems, smoke and heat vents, and smoke dampers in NSW will now have a pathway that incorporates this course to ensure that their knowledge and skills are adequate, and their insurance is covered as they can now be classed as competent.

“This unit of competence should resonate with anyone who works or resides in a high rise building, if the above mentioned systems do not operate as intended, the occupants will not be able to safely evacuate the building. This unit is critical for fire safety.”